Mumbai, July 11: Marking today’s World Population Day, Maharashtra becomes India’s first state to provide women – an injectable contraceptive for free. Government hospitals in Maharashtra will now offer Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) injectable contraceptives to women.
Maharashtra is the first state to launch a pilot project to promote the use of these injectable contraceptives. The initiative is part of the state government's latest family planning programme, Antara.
Maharashtra’s health department launched a programme called Antara to offer women an injection of Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), a birth-control hormone. According to state health officials, the injection, a safe means of birth control, is effective for three months.
Dr Archana Patil, State Health Department, said, “It will help women who are not able to convince their partners to use contraceptives.” The availability of the injections may help reduce the maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate in the state added Patil. "By making more options available, we hope to decrease the rates of maternal deaths and abortion-related maternal deaths in the state," Dr Patil added.
The injection is supposed to be used within a week from the day a woman’s menstrual cycle starts. Currently, the injections are available for free at public health facilities in Mumbai, Pune, Raigad, Nandurbar, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Sangli, Ratnagiri and Beed.“These injections will help in birth spacing,” CK Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Dr Arun Gadre, Gynaecologist, Jan Swasthiya Abhiyan, said, “I am worried that women will be offered the injections without proper counselling. One of its drawbacks is that once it is administered and a woman experiences side effects, there is no way to retract it.” "In the first phase, the central government has provided the state with 33,000 doses of MPA,” Dr. Patil said.